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xgo                             THE GAY GENIUS

There had been no rain for a long time, and when it came he Belt
happy and gratified as only a true .farmer can:

"Suddenly rain came from heaven three inches deep.
The Creator's mercy is beyond comprehension.
After my work I enjoy such sweet sleep, listening               "*"

To the clack of wooden shoes outside the eastern wall.
With coarse meals a humble man can support himself for life,
And tilling his fields, look proudly into people's eyes.
I built myself a pond one thousand feet around,
To dam the spring water coining from the north-west.
My neighbours helped me stamp the embankment,
Knowing that my pocket is empty and bare.**

Building was an instinct with Su Tungpo. He had made up hi&
mind to make himself a comfortable home. All his energy was used
up in damming water, building a fish pond, getting saplings from
neighbours, flowers from friends1 gardens, and vegetable seeds from liis
home province. He jumped with joy when a boy came running with
the good news that they had struck water in the well they were digging,
or when he saw the needle-like green bkdes peeping above the earth.
He watched with pride and satisfaction how his rice-stalks stood
proudly erect and swaying with the wind, and how the bedewed
stalks glistened at night like strings of pearls in the moonlight. He
had been fed on official salary; now he began to "appreciate the full
flavour of rice". Qn the upper lands he planted wheat. A good farmeat-
came and gave him some advice, which was that he should not let
the first sprouts grow up, and that if he expected a rich harvest, he
should let cows and sheep graze over them for a time, for this made
the crop grow better. When he did have a good harvest, he remem-
bered gratefully the, farmer's advice.

His friends and neighbours were Pan the wine-shop keeper, Kuo the
pharmacist, Pang the physician, Ku the farmer; a loud-speaking,
domineering peasant woman who often quarrelled with her husband
and "screeched like a pig" at night; Shii Xashou, the magistrate of
Huangchow, and Chu Shouchang, magistrate of Wuchang and a gieqL
admirer of the poet. Staying always with him was the faithful Ml|
Mengteh, who had followed him for twenty years, had always believed
in him, and now had to share his poverty. Su remarked that for his
friend to expect to become rich with him was like trying to make a
carpet of wool from a turtle's back. "Poor crazy Ma, even now he
thinks that I am a brilliant man!" A poor but good scholar from his
native town, Tsao Ku, had come to tutor his boys. His wife's brother
came to live with them for a period during their first year at Huang-